Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Bay Area Birds Calendar 2015

So, like all good birders based in the bay area, your amateurnithologist is a member of the Golden Gate Audubon society (best of the Audubon societies). Recently, they announced that they were looking for photo submissions for an annual calendar they put out- Birds of the San Francisco Bay
 Area. After thinking long and hard, I decided to enter. My logic went something like "I want to be in a calendar!" I reviewed my past few years of birdtography with an eye for things I thought might look ok in a calendar, and actually found quite a couple. The GGAS was only accepting three submissions per person (otherwise it'd just end up being an amateurnithologist calendar natch), but I found a lot more pictures I thought were worth considering. 12 actually, or exactly enough for a calendar. That's what I present to you today- a highly speculative look at what a calendar composed of my bird photos (limited to bay area birds) would look like. Many of these are never-before-seen on this blog, and I tried to choose ones that represented their month appropriately.

January
 
A Western Grebe at Lake Merritt. Many waterbirds winter at this lake, which has become something of a vacation hot-spot for birds. This Grebe is wondering whether all of the hard work and hours he has put into supporting this kind of lifestyle for his family has been worth it. Would they not have been happier, he wonders, if they were poor but closely connected?

February
 
These two Red-masked Parakeets are at Coit Tower in San Francisco. They are very in love and are happy they are legally allowed to marry now. Both Parakeets are from families that they have no contact with any longer, through death, tragedy, or irreconcilable differences. They do not care that no one will be at their wedding; they will create their own family.

March

It is the start of spring and here is a Western Bluebird at Point Pinole. He is responsible for spring starting, and he has to go around to each plant and tree and land on it a certain number of times to ensure it will bloom. He knows the right number and it produces a lot of stress for him if he touches something the wrong number. Is this some kind of compulsion or does it really work this way?

April


Spring Break!!!! This American Avocet has his best breeding colors on at the Berkeley Marina. Factually, this is not the time of year Avocets breed, but he's got to have his swag on. American Avocet has made a lot of new friends lately and really wants to impress them, so it's possible he'll get in over his head during this vacation. It's part of growing up.

May


Love is in the air for these Anna's Hummingbirds at Lake Merritt. Well, maybe. The lady hummingbird is on a reality dating show and she has to decide very quickly whether or not she would like a date with the male hummingbird. He is showboating for her, but it betrays little about him as a long term prospect. She is leaning towards 'no' even though he is very handsome.

June


The Great Blue Heron is glad it's summer. He has gone to the San Pablo Reservoir to go fishing. This is what he does to relax and clear his mind. Great Blue Heron had a hard year, but he doesn't want to talk about it. No, all he wants to do is fish and find some peace and quiet. He will think of his father while he drinks a beer. This is how he liked to relax too.

July


July is this Green Heron's favorite month because it is a very patriotic month. At the Berkeley Aquatic Park he will have no trouble seeing the fireworks. It's the only time of year where people are allowed to show any kind of pride in America any more, he opines. Where has his country gone, he wonders, as he sees a larger and larger number of people from other countries, people who look different from him, moving into his community. Is Green Heron a racist? He doesn't think so. But the answer is yes.

August


It is August and it is so hot out that California Quail can hardly breath, especially since she is wearing her best suit out to Pinnacles National Park. But this is what she has to do, since she is running for office. She is posing for a newspaper picture here and it is taking too long. She has already given up on some of the things she hoped she could change by getting into politics, out of pragmatism. Inside she doesn't even know if she really wants to win. This is what she is thinking as she is smiling and posing in the hot, hot sun.

September

These White Pelicans at Lake Merritt do not know each other very well, but they are family. Their great grandmother, who was something of a matriarch figure to their family, has died and some aunt has organized a huge family gathering in response. There is a big barbeque and someone even made shirts. "Do I have to wear this shirt?" asks a White Pelican. The other White Pelican commiserates and they begin to chat. They find they have more in common than they thought. They will stay in touch after they both go home.

October
 
Acorn Woodpecker is getting ready for the winter at his home in Pinnacles National Park. He works for a tech company, that is getting bought out. He's a low level employee, and he's getting fired, and he's not supposed to know yet, but he does. He has been shoving acorns into everything, now, while he still can. It is Halloween and little Acorn Woodpeckers will come and ask for acorns. He pretends he is not home.

November


Black-capped Chickadee always gets nostalgic around november and he doesn't really know why. He went out for a stroll around Point Pinole and is thinking of places and people he has left behind and is regretting. His life is better now than it has ever been, by any meaningful measurement, but still he thinks about the past sometimes, when he has that luxury. Black-capped Chickadee's melancholy reverie is brief and he will shake it off soon. There is the future to consider.

December

Burrowing Owl has taken up his yearly post at Cesar Chavez Park in Berkeley. He will live there for a few months and during this time other birds will come to him seeking prophecies and advice. Burrowing Owl has visions and a connection to the bird afterlife. His stint here is short, because other places need his gifts as well. Burrowing Owl's connection to the spirit world is taxing, but it is a burden he must bear.

And that is what an Amateurnithologist calendar would look like! I guess that's why they don't give people like me calendars to be responsible for. I will keep you updated on the results of the contest- fingers crossed for a bird picture getting in. Which pictures were your favorites? Sound off in the comments if you want.

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